April 1st, 2008 07:42 EST
Mugabe said to be manipulating Zimbabwe Elections
By Peter Clottey
Zimbabwe’s opposition parties are reportedly accusing incumbent President Robert Mugabe’s government of a calculated plot to declare Mugabe winner of last Saturday’s elections. The opposition says it will happen today, when Mugabe declares himself duly elected. But government supporters dismiss the allegations as false and contemptible. The opposition claim follows what Mugabe opponents say is a deliberate attempt to release election results slowly in order to thwart any opposition upset.
Results so far released by the electoral commission put the main opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of Mugabe, with independent Simba Makoni trailing as a distant third. Bucani Ncube is the director of Logistics for the Bulawayo Project, a non-governmental organization. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that there is an uneasy calm in the country.
“The latest development is that there is still confusion. There is still uncertainty over the election results. Of course we have received the parliamentary results. Senatorial results. But we have not heard anything about the much-awaited results of the presidential,” Ncube said.
Ncube cites unconfirmed reports as suggesting that incumbent President Mugabe will be declared the winner of Saturday’s vote.
“I feel that later in the afternoon or in the evening, President Mugabe might declare himself the winner because it is clear from the reports that are coming from the province, and from the constituencies and from the MDC, saying that they have the Zimbabwe Support Network, it was clear that the opposition is leading, and the opposition is winning this election. But we don’t think Mugabe will announce the results of which he is defeated. So, we feel that Mugabe will cook the results and declare himself the winner,” he noted.
Ncube said thousands of Zimbabweans will feel let down if Mugabe wins the election.
“The ordinary Zimbabweans would be disappointed. They will lose hope in the electoral system, and they will lose faith in the whole process of the elections. And this is very dangerous because we fear that this can even provoke the ordinary people because people are very angry and hungry. And people can do anything. But we hope that we will not be in the Kenya situation,” Ncube said.
He denied a lack of unity among opposition parties had a negative impact on the chances of the opposition in last Saturday’s elections.
“I don’t believe in that school of thought because the results that we have received show that there is only one strong opposition, which is MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai. The party has gained inroads in the rural Mashonaland, which used to be a stronghold of ZANU-PF. And we have seen how the other MDC (led by Arthur Mutambara) has failed to win any seats. They are losing seats from their top leadership, so I really do not think it could have done anything. And talking about Simba Makoni, I don’t see how the MDC’s Tsvangirai could have formed any alliance because as far as I’m concerned, Makoni does not have a political party. So I don’t see any contribution that could have changed any results,” he pointed out.
Riot police in armored carriers reportedly were deployed in two of Harare's restive townships last night amid long delays in issuing election results, further elevating tensions. Meanwhile the United States government has urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to put aside partisan sympathies and ensure all votes were counted fairly and properly.